Overview: Data collection and analysis methods in impact evaluation

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This guide, written by Greet Peersman for UNICEF looks at the different types of data collection and analysis methods that can be used for impact evaluation.

The paper describes how to plan for data collection and analysis and outlines the importance of good data management practices. The guide also focuses on specific issues to ensure the quality of data collected.


"Impact evaluations need to go beyond assessing the size of the effects (i.e., the average impact) to identify for whom and in what ways a programme or policy has been successful. What constitutes ‘success’ and how the data will be analysed and synthesized to answer the specific key evaluation questions (KEQs) must be considered up front as data collection should be geared towards the mix of evidence needed to make appropriate judgements about the programme or policy. In other words, the analytical framework – the methodology for analysing the ‘meaning’ of the data by looking for patterns in a systematic and transparent manner – should be specified during the evaluation planning stage. The framework includes how data analysis will address assumptions made in the programme theory of change about how the programme was thought to produce the intended results (see Brief No. 2, Theory of Change). In a true mixed methods evaluation, this includes using appropriate numerical and textual analysis methods and triangulating multiple data sources and perspectives in order to maximize the credibility of the evaluation findings."



  • Data collection and analysis: a brief description
  • Planning data collection and analysis
  • Ensuring good data management
  • Specific issues in ensuring quality in data collection
  • Specific issues in ensuring quality in data analysis
  • Ethical issues and practical limitations
  • Example of good practices
  • Examples of challenges 


Peersman, G., (2014), Overview: Data Collection and Analysis Methods in Impact Evaluation, UNICEF. Retrieved from: http://devinfolive.info/impact_evaluation/img/downloads/Data_collection_and_Analysis_ENG.pdf


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